In an earlier item regarding the absence of recorded audio evidence confirming or debunking Browns defensive end Myles Garrett‘s claim that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur just before Garrett removed Rudolph’s helmet and whacked him over the head with it, it was mentioned that the league could have separately investigated the situation.
As it turns out, the league did.
“We checked with the officiating crew, including the ref who was on top of the play and the ensuing aftermath,” NFL V.P. of communications Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “No player on either team came forward to say they heard him say it on the field. There was also no indication of any players saying they heard him say it in their postgame comments.”
Of course, Garrett said that he heard it. And Rudolph has denied saying it. The league, which has resolved multiple factual disputes like this within the context of the Personal Conduct Policy, has skilled interrogators who know how to ask probing questions — and who know how to assess the credibility of those being questioned. The league could have met with Garrett and with Rudolph, in an effort to resolve which man is telling the more believable story.
That will still happen, if Rudolph sues Garrett. But the league won’t be controlling the process; it will be driven by Rudolph’s and Garrett’s lawyers and presented to a judge and a jury, if Rudolph files a defamation lawsuit.